St. Cloud business owner and TikTok creator Sarah Fitzgerald credits the social video app with the explosion of her Fuzzy Loon Designs, which has grown from her family's living room to a 10,000-square-foot warehouse.

With more than 300,000 followers on TikTok, Fitzgerald said she can directly link popular posts to increased sales. Last fall, a T-shirt featured in one viral video led to more than 25,000 sales, said Fitzgerald, who owns the company with her husband.

"It's literally why our business has grown to where it has today. Without it we would have never gotten those views, we never would have gotten those sales," Fitzgerald said.

For Minnesota content creators and business owners, TikTok's uncertain future following a congressional vote cracking down on its Chinese ownership has the potential to seriously impact both the online customer base they've built over years, not to mention the bottom line.

Congress passed legislation late Tuesday that will ban TikTok due to data and privacy concerns surrounding Chinese technology firm ByteDance. The legislation, which gives ByteDance nine months to head off the ban by selling the app to a U.S. owner, was part of a larger $95 billion package that provides foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel.

President Joe Biden signed the bill into law Wednesday. It is the the first time the U.S. has banned any social media platform. Minnesota's two Democrats in the Senate, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, voted in favor of the legislation.

"We need to take seriously the real risks of the Chinese Government using TikTok to spy on Americans and access our personal, private data," Smith said in an emailed statement. "I believe the legislation we passed creates a path to separate TikTok while also protecting Americans' free speech and opportunity to use the platform."

When the House passed the ban, Minnesota Republicans Tom Emmer, Pete Stauber, Michelle Fischbach and Brad Finstad voted for it, along with Democrats Betty McCollum and Angie Craig. Democrats Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips voted against it.

Fitzgerald is one of 72,000 Minnesota business owners on the platform, according to numbers released by the company. One-third of the state's small business owners say the app is "critical" to their business. Nearly 2 million Minnesotans actively use the app, according to a report compiled by Oxford Economics for TikTok.

Jen Shaffer, known as the Formidable Genealogist on TikTok, traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to meet with Smith about the ban. Shaffer believes there is a misunderstanding around how business and client interactions take place in relation to the platform, said Shaffer, who is based in St. Paul and has 28,000 followers on the platform.

"This is just a way to reach people. People are not paying me through the app. And I think that's kind of a common misconception," Shaffer said. "Its just the client leads that come from there. All business is done outside of the app."

Shaffer, 45, began posting on TikTok in earnest in 2022, just as her daughter started kindergarten and she was laid off from her job. Posting daily tips and tricks on accessing family records, she quickly began to see traction on her videos and, soon after, client conversions.

Now, Shaffer's waitlist for genealogy clients is six months deep. Last year, she doubled the income she made at her former full-time job.

"These are people that never even considered hiring someone. It kind of exposes people to an industry that maybe they didn't know about. That's very alone in TikTok; I don't see that on many other platforms," she said.

Kristen Lease began to share her Minnesota travel and food recommendation videos on Instagram Reels in addition to TikTok when the conversation around the ban started. Now, her Instagram platform has surpassed her TikTok audience, said Lease, 38.

While she's not privy to any national security briefings, Lease said she's taking the bill — with its bipartisan support — seriously as a creator. Social media is not her full-time gig, and for now, Lease will be pausing any paid partnerships on TikTok.

"I would be sad to lose the community that I've built on TikTok," she said. "I think as a platform, there's a lot more just genuine content, less polished content on TikTok."

The next several months will likely be marked by legal battles as TikTok has vowed to challenge the ban in court.

"For anyone on social media I'd suggest not to be single-threaded or single-platform," Lease said.

Star Tribune staff writer Louis Krauss contributed to this report.